As the effects of the latest COVID variant, Omicron, remain shrouded in mystery, an immunologist at the Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, recently conducted a study to uncover potential long-term effects of COVID. The study found that even those who experienced milder symptoms from the virus can potentially endure long-term neurological damage.

“Our most recent research was done mostly in [a] mouse model of COVID-19, where we intentionally gave mice a mild respiratory infection with SARS-CoV-2,” Iwasaki said in an interview with NBC Connecticut's Dan Corcoran. “We measured what happens in the brain seven days and seven weeks after the infection. And what we found is that even with a very mild infection ... we still saw some significant damage in the cells of the brain."

Iwasaki stated that getting vaccinated and boosted against the virus can “prevent some of these long-term consequences from occurring after infection,” but clarified that “it's no guarantee.”

Iwasaki emphasized that the main objective of the study is to find the root cause of long-term COVID side effects.

“We don't understand how long COVID happens. And if we don't understand that, we won't know how to treat these diseases better. Ultimately, we want to understand the underlying mechanism of disease so we can come up with a therapy to treat these patients."

The World Health Organization said Tuesday that Omicron will likely not be the last variant of COVID and stressed that the pandemic is “nowhere near over.”

“We’re hearing a lot of people suggest that Omicron is the last variant, that it’s over after this,” WHO COVID-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove said. “That is not the case because this virus is circulating at a very intense level around the world.”

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